from September 12, 2010
I don't know what I will do when Seamus Heaney dies. I didn't know it when Ted Hughes went. I was 7. With Heaney, I'll know. Knowing you are going to lose makes the loss so much worse. It makes it a loss, rather than something you missed. How is it possible that my father's life overlapped that of Sylvia Plath? I cannot blame him, and I cannot even blame my grandmother for failing to make a special supper or grieve into her baby's hair. They never had her, just as I never had Ted. Was I really around in the world, attending ballet classes while he wrote Birthday Letters? I curse that little girl for her lack of a discovery. When Heaney dies, he will become a less-formidable peer, a book-friend, but I will know that while I struggled to suppress feminine rhymes, he lectured at Harvard and used those feminine rhymes successfully.